August 22, 2008

Four Eagles on Preseason All-America Team

Aug. 22, 2008

Like all preseason predictions, it’s how you’re regarded at the end of the season that counts most.

However, a quartet of Eastern Washington University football players -- equaling the most from any one school among the 125 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision teams -- have been selected to The Sports Network’s preseason All-America team released Friday (Aug. 22).

Senior defensive end Greg Peach was honored on the second team while junior wide receiver Aaron Boyce, senior defensive tackle Lance Witherspoon and senior fullback Alexis Alexander were on the third team. All four played high school football in the State of Washington.

Boyce (Kent, Wash. - Kentwood HS ’05), Peach (Vancouver, Wash. - Evergreen HS ‘05) and Witherspoon (Federal Way, Wash. - Decatur HS ‘04) earned season-ending All-America honors a year ago. Alexander (Medical Lake, Wash. - Medical Lake HS ’01) was a second-team All-Big Sky fullback in 2006 before being slowed by a sports hernia in 2007.

With a large group of players returning, Eastern is hoping to continue the momentum from the 2007 season when the Eagles returned to the top of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision scene with a 9-4 finish after a dismal 3-8 record the year before. Eastern advanced to the FCS Playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons and closed the year ranked eighth in the final Sports Network poll of the year.

Peach and Witherspoon helped the Eagles rank 38th in FCS in rushing defense a year ago (144.1) en route to earning first team All-Big Sky Conference honors. Peach finished with 63 tackles, including 11 sacks to rank as the fifth-best performance in school history and 11th in FCS (0.85 per game). He will enter his senior season with 17 1/2 sacks that rank ninth in school history. Witherspoon, a former walk-on, ended the 2007 season with 44 tackles, a sack and 12 total tackles for loss to earn second team All-BSC accolades.

Boyce had 85 catches for 1,308 yards and 10 touchdown receptions to rank 14th in FCS in receptions (6.5 per game) and sixth in receiving yards (100.6). His catch total ranked second all-time at EWU and his yardage total was fourth.

Boyce had a record-breaking performance at Montana on Oct. 6 and was selected by The Sports Network as the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Offensive Player of the Week. A first team All-Big Sky selection in 2007, Boyce had the fourth-most catches in Big Sky history with a school-record 17 against the Grizzlies.

Alexander saw action at tailback a year ago after starting as EWU’s fullback. He had 267 rushing yards and five touchdowns, and also caught five passes for 61 more yards and a score. He has started a total of nine games in his career.

Alexander, a transfer in 2006 from Washington State University, played three years of minor league baseball before returning to football. Alexander, who will turn 26 in November, nearly signed a letter of intent out of high school to play football for Big Sky rival Montana.

Eastern opens the season with a pair of games versus NCAA Football Bowl Division teams -- Aug. 30 at Texas Tech and Sept. 6 at Colorado. The Eagles open their home season at Woodward Field in Cheney, Wash., on Sept. 20 against Western Washington followed a week later by Eastern’s league opener at home against Idaho State on Sept. 27.

The Big Sky Conference dominated the All-America Team with 18 picks, including four each by Eastern and fellow league member Northern Arizona.

Northern Arizona landed cornerback K.J. Gerard and punter Robbie DeHaze on the first team, while safety Cyrus Igono and tight end Shaun Fitzpatrick were third-team selections.

Montana was one of five teams with a trio of players picked, with safety Colt Anderson and offensive linemen Colin Dow and Brent Russum being tabbed.

The Colonial Athletic Association grabbed 12 spots and the Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly the Gateway) added 10.

Richmond also earned four selections, with guard Matt McCracken and kick returner Justin Rogers making the second team, while defensive end Sherman Logan and tackle Tim Silver being named to the third team.

A total of 28 members of the 2007 postseason All-America squad was selected to the preseason team, including Armanti Edwards, the quarterback of three-rime defending national champion Appalachian State and his teammate, linebacker Pierre Banks.

Two Buchanan Award candidates from 2007, Montana State linebacker Bobby Daly and Nicholls State safety Lardarius Webb were first-team selections.

Six Payton Award finalists from 2007 were also represented, quarterback Dominic Randolph, receivers Ramses Barden (Cal Poly) and Terrell Hudgins (Elon) and running backs Herb Donaldson (Western Illinois), Mike McLeod (Yale) and Tyler Roehl (North Dakota State).

THE SPORTS NETWORK 2008 PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA OFFENSE 

First Team - School - Pos. - Cl. - Ht. - Wt.
Armanti Edwards - Appalachian State - QB - Jr. - 6-0 - 185
Rashad Jennings - Liberty - RB - Sr. - 6-1 - 230
Corey Lewis - Northern Iowa - RB - Sr. - 6-0 - 197
Joe Casey - Rhode Island - FB - Sr. - 5-10 - 215
Ramses Barden - Cal Poly - WR - Sr. - 6-5 - 230
Terrell Hudgins - Elon - - WR - Jr. - 6-3 - 235
Scott Sicko - New Hampshire - TE - Jr. - 6-3 - 225
Kheon Hendricks - Delaware - C - Sr. - 6-1 - 300
Stephen Field - Cal Poly - G - Sr. - 6-1 - 280
Colin Dow - Montana - G - Sr. - 6-5 - 300
Joel Bell - Furman - T - Sr. - 6-8 - 308
Cornelius Lewis - Tennessee State - T - Sr. - 6-5 - 310
Taylor Rowan - Western Illinois - K - Sr. - 6-0 - 190
J.T. Rogan - San Diego - KR - Sr. - 5-10 - 190

Second Team - School - Pos. - Cl. - Ht. - Wt.
Dominic Randolph - Holy Cross - QB - Sr. - 6-3 - 223
Mike McLeod - Yale - - RB - Jr. - 5-11 - 200
Tyler Roehl - North Dakota State - RB - Sr. - 5-10 - 232
Jon Hall - Cal Poly - FB - Jr. - 6-2 - 240
Andre Roberts - The Citadel - WR - Jr. - 5-11 - 175
Eddie Thompson - Idaho State - WR - Sr. - 5-11 - 185
Brian Mandeville - Northeastern - TE - Sr. - 6-7 - 253
Scott Lemm - James Madison - C - Sr. - 6-3 - 285
Matt McCracken - Richmond - G - Jr. - 6-4 - 300
Dennis Conley - Hampton - G - Jr. - 6-4 - 257
Nicholas Hennessey - Colgate - T - Sr. - 6-6 - 300
Brent Russum - Montana - T - Sr. - 6-4 - 295
Jon Striefsky - Delaware - K - Jr. - 6-1 - 190
Justin Rogers - Richmond - KR - So. - 5-10 - 165

Third Team - School - Pos. - Cl. - Ht. - Wt.
Nathan Brown - Central Arkansas - QB - Sr. - 6-2 - 209
Herb Donaldson - Western Illinois - RB - Sr. - 5-11 - 225
Jarvarris Williams - Tennessee State - RB - Sr. - 5-11 - 215
Alexis Alexander - Eastern Washington - FB - Sr. - 5-10 - 230
Aaron Boyce - Eastern Washington - WR - Jr. - 6-3 - 210
Johnny Gray - Northern Iowa - WR - Sr. - 5-9 - 185
Shaun Fitzpatrick - Northern Arizona - TE - Sr. - 6-2 - 255
Raymond Harrison - South Carolina State - C - Sr. - 6-2 - 275
Jeff Hansen - Montana State - G - Jr. - 6-4 - 281
Jon Compas - UC Davis - G - Sr. - 6-3 - 298
Tim Silver - Richmond - T - Sr. - 6-6 - 330
James Williams - Harvard - T - Sr. - 6-6 - 285
Jeff Turner - SE Louisiana - K - Jr. - 5-9 - 170
Dominic Bolden - Liberty - KR - Sr. - 5-10 - 180

THE SPORTS NETWORK 2007 PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA DEFENSE 

First Team - School - Pos. - Cl. - Ht. - Wt.
Jovan Belcher - Maine - DE - Sr. - 6-2 - 228
Pierre Walters - Eastern Illinois - DE - Sr. - 6-5 - 261
Mychal Savage - Youngstown State - DT - Jr. - 6-2 - 290
John Faletoese - UC Davis - DT - Jr. - 6-3 - 290
Bobby Daly - Montana State - LB - Sr. - 6-1 - 226
Zach East - Prairie View - LB - Sr. - 6-2 - 230
Cyrus Mulitalo - Sacramento State - LB - Sr. - 6-1 - 245
Jason Williams - Western Illinois - LB - Sr. - 6-3 - 235
K.J. Gerard - Northern Arizona - CB - Sr. - 6-1 - 180
Domonique Johnson - Jackson State - CB - Sr. - 6-3 - 218
Colt Anderson - Montana - SS - Sr. - 5-11 - 185
Lardarius Webb - Nicholls State - FS - Sr. - 5-11 - 180
Robbie DeHaze - Northern Arizona - P - Sr. - 6-3 - 184
Jeremy Gilchrist - Hampton - PR - Sr. - 5-10 - 174

Second Team - School - Pos. - Cl. - Ht. - Wt.
Mark Marcorelle - Delaware - DE - Sr. - 6-2 - 250
Greg Peach - Eastern Washington - DE - Sr. - 6-3 - 255
Mark Huygens - Northern Iowa - DT - Jr. - 6-6 - 280
Brian Jackson - Lehigh - DT - Sr. - 6-1 - 250
Bobby Abare - Yale - - LB - Sr. - 6-2 - 210
Pierre Banks - Appalachian State - LB - Sr. - 6-0 - 210
Andy Romans - Lafayette - LB - Sr. - 5-11 - 215
Andy Schantz - Portland State - LB - Sr. - 6-1 - 235
Sam Pope - Hampton - CB - Sr. - 6-1 - 200
Sean Smalls - Massachusetts - CB - Sr. - 6-1 - 205
Brandon Gathof - Eastern Kentucky - SS - Sr. - 5-2 - 200
Terrell Whitehead - Norfolk State - FS - Jr. - 6-2 - 200
Brandon Lane - Elon - - P - Sr. - 6-5 - 258
Bryant Eteuati - Weber State - PR - Sr. - 5-7 - 160

Third Team - School - Pos. - Cl. - Ht. - Wt.
James Cloud - Southern Illinois - DE - Sr. - 6-2 - 216
Sherman Logan - Richmond - DE - Sr. - 6-3 - 250
Eric Schroeder - South Dakota State - DT - Sr. - 6-4 - 285
Lance Witherspoon - Eastern Washington - DT - Sr. - 6-2 - 275
Mike Brannon - Sacramento State - LB - Sr. - 6-2 - 235
Mario Brown - Gardner-Webb - LB - Sr. - 6-2 - 230
Tim Diamond - Lehigh - LB - Sr. - 6-0 - 220
Chauncey Mixon - Southern Illinois - LB - Sr. - 6-1 - 221
Andrew Berry - Harvard - CB - Sr. - 6-1 - 175
David Hyland - Morehead State - CB - Sr. - 6-1 - 185
Cyrus Igono - Northern Arizona - SS - Sr. - 5-10 - 205
Al Donaldson - Alabama A&M - FS - Sr. - 5-9 - 173
Kevin Cook - Eastern Illinois - P - So. - 6-2 - 195
Anthony Weeden - Prairie View - PR - So. - 5-5 - 155

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